So, you’ve read through all the posts this month and you’re ready to have a baby. But we still have a couple days, so we’d like to cover just a couple more topics with you. Today, we would like to focus on the mindset of having a new baby, not to scare you, but to get real with you, so you know what to expect.
When Amanda and I got pregnant for the first time, we both thought we’d know exactly what to do. Amanda had watched her younger nieces and spent time as a nanny for a large family. Taking care of children was second nature to her. I felt much the same way, that I had helped to raise my baby brother and watched him several times, changed diapers, bottle-fed him, even gotten up at night with him. I knew that I would be just fine. And now, we sit back and laugh at our naivete.
There’s definitely something different about having your very own baby. You are responsible for every choice made for this little one that you created. This begins before conception even occurs, and if my grandparents are correct, it never, ever ends. Taking care of someone else’s child, you don’t have to make all the medical decisions, get to know every cry and babble to interpret it, get up all night, every night, until you’re utterly sleep deprived and in full-on “mombie” mode. Not truly, even as a live-in nanny.
So we highly suggest doing as much metal preparation as you can. Talk to other mothers, your sisters and other female family members, to find out what it was like for them. Read some quality parenting books. Not sure which ones to look for, reach out to us. We’d be glad to offer some suggestions about which ones really helped us, and which ones we had to weed out the rubbish. Get plenty of rest and take care of yourself, because those first few weeks of having a baby, you will become an afterthought to yourself and baby’s needs will rank much higher than your own.
We’d like to share with you an experience from each of us, just to let you know, you are not alone. You will make mistakes, you will have needs, you will have times that you wonder how you’ll make it through, and that’s all normal. If we could go back and have a conversation with ourselves, it would sound very much like this. Everything is a phase, and every phase eventually comes to an end. There are even apps that help explain these phases and keep you sane when your baby would like to do otherwise. You also have us. If you are reading this, we are here for you at any stage of pre-conception, pregnancy, and postpartum, to answer your questions and lend an ear.
“I hit a point at somewhere around 4 weeks postpartum that I felt hopeless and lost at what to do. My baby, Ella, wouldn’t stop crying despite all my attempts to walk with her, feed her, burp her, change her, everything the books said to do. I was getting frustrated beyond belief and was ready to take her back to the hospital. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. I reached out to my mom, who gave me permission to lay her safely in her bed and take a break, walk outside onto the balcony, and give a both a couple minutes to cool off. I was putting too much pressure on myself as a mother, and I needed that voice of intervention to give me the okay. I wasn’t gone long, and my baby was safe, and when I returned to her, I was refreshed and ready to pour my love into my baby again. It was an important lesson and one that I needed to hear. Thanks, Mom!”
My story starts with a midnight feeding and walking from baby’s room to my room and back again. This was about 2 weeks postpartum and I was sleep-deprived, stumbling, and ended up walking my beautiful newborn’s head into a doorframe. He was fine; it didn’t even leave a dent, but I was a wreck. Beat myself up for a day thinking about it, sure that I was the worst mother to ever walk the face of the planet, until I reached out to my sister. It was painful, confessing that I had done such a horrible thing, and you know what she did? She laughed. Her words were, “Is that all? That wasn’t a failure, us veteran moms call that initiation. Pretty sure we’ve all done it.” And in that moment, I knew it would all be okay, that we all make mistakes, and that I would be able to conquer this new mother thing. She gave me the forgiveness and the confidence I needed to carry on.
Reach out, ladies, don’t hold in your stories, or your feelings of hopelessness or failure. We are here for you!